Family Read Alouds

11+ Family Read Alouds: Books for Elementary Students And Their Parents

Whether it’s in paper, hardcover or audio form, our family always has a book we are enjoying. Read alouds are a fun way to enjoy some quality family time and are amazing at helping my hyper ADHD, auditory learning son find calm. At times we have more than one book: sometimes a family books, one that my husband and son enjoy, and one that’s just for my son and I.

Below are some of the books we have been reading lately. What books have you been reading? Are there any you’d like to see on this list?

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Our Read Alouds

King George: What Was His Problem?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You About the American Revolution – Entire books have been written about the causes of the American Revolution. This isn’t one of them.

What it is, instead, is utterly interesting, anecdotes (John Hancock fixates on salmon), from the inside out (at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, hundreds of soldiers plunged into battle “naked as they were born”) close-up narratives filled with little-known details, lots of quotes that capture the spirit and voices of the principals (“If need be, I will raise one thousand men, subsist them at my own expense, and march myself at their head for the relief of Boston” –George Washington), and action. It’s the story of the birth of our nation, complete with soldiers, spies, salmon sandwiches, and real facts you can’t help but want to tell to everyone you know.

Initially recommended as as part of our history program, this clever and humorous book was an instant hit. My son often pulls it off the shelf, curious to find out what happens next in the American Revolution. Not your typical read aloud but we have found many hours of joy from this little gem, not to mention the historical learning.

The Phantom Tollbooth – For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason. Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams! A fun read aloud that my 7-year-old enjoyed and I suspect will enjoy even more in a few years.

The Wonderful Wizard Of OZ is an American children’s novel originally published in 1900. It is often reprinted under the title The Wizard of Oz which was also the title of the famous 1939 movie adaptation. The story chronicles the adventures of a young farm girl named Dorothy in the magical Land of Oz, after she and her pet dog Toto are swept away from their Kansas home by a tornado. The book is one of the best-known stories in American literature and has been widely translated. A classic read aloud that pairs well with watching the movie!

Harry Potter – Illustrated Series (Books 1-3): We started the Harry Potter Series when my son was 5 and, at first he was not interested. When we bought the AMAZING illustrated versions, however, he fell in love. Now he listens to the 1st 4 audiobooks or asks us to read them, each of which we have done multiple times. We are waiting until he is a little older to read the remaining 3 books and, although not my personal favorite on this list, I am including it because of how much it engaged my son and piqued his interest in longer, more complex chapter books. Also, it’s a classic that a few of his friends had been reading, and therefore, something he could discuss in social situations.

J.R.R. Tolken 4 books Boxed Set: The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings: From homely beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land reminiscent of the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle-earth, following the quest to destroy the One Ring mainly through the eyes of the hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin.

This was a great “Next series” after Harry Potter. At age 7, we have read the Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Rings, and watch the Lord of the Rings movie. A big classic hit, supurbly written by J.R.R. Tolkien.

RedwallThe book that inspired a legend—the first novel in the beloved, bestselling Redwall saga.

Welcome to Mossflower Wood, where the gentle mice have gathered to celebrate a year of peace and abundance. All is well…until a sinister shadow falls across the ancient stone abbey of Redwall. It is rumored that Cluny is coming—Cluny, the terrible one-eyed rat and his savage horde—Cluny, who has vowed to conquer Redwall Abbey! The only hope for the besieged mice lies in the lost sword of the legendary Martin the Warrior. And so begins the epic quest of a bumbling young apprentice—a courageous mouse who would rise up, fight back…and become a legend himself.

Perfect for fans of T. A. Barron’s Merlin saga, John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.

His Dark Materials 3-Book Series: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass – These thrilling adventures tell the story of Lyra and Will—two ordinary children on a perilous journey through shimmering haunted other worlds. They will meet witches and armored bears, fallen angels and soul-eating specters. And in the end, the fate of both the living—and the dead—will rely on them.

Phillip Pullman’s spellbinding His Dark Materials trilogy has captivated readers for over twenty years and won acclaim at every turn. It will have you questioning everything you know about your world and wondering what really lies just out of reach. Check out the superbly narrated audio version.

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Esperanza Rising joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content! Esperanza thought she’d always live a privileged life on her family’s ranch in Mexico. She’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.

How to Train Your Dragon – Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans, tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan by catching and training a dragon. Can Hiccup do it without being torn limb from limb?

Join his adventures and misadventures as he finds a new way to train dragons–and becomes a hero. This action-packed, hilarious, and perfectly illustrated novel is a modern classic beloved by millions across the globe

Addy: An American Girl – We started our 1st grade school year (and black history / civil rights learning) with this book. It was a great Segway into deeper conversations about equality and justice.

Meet Addy Walker, a courageous nine-year-old girl growing up during the Civil War. When her poppa and brother are sold to another plantation, Addy and her mother take the terrible risk of escaping to freedom in the North. To get away safely, they must leave Addy’s baby sister behind in the slave quarters; her cries could cost them their freedom. As Addy and Momma slowly build a new life in Philadelphia and struggle to bring their family together again, Addy comes to realize a powerful truth: freedom has great costs.

This lovely hardcover book contains these stories: Meet Addy; Addy Learns a Lesson; Addy’s Surprise; Happy Birthday, Addy!; Addy Saves the Day, and Changes for Addy. It also has a Looking Back section offering a synopsis of African-American history from the end of slavery through the Civil Rights era.

The Toothpaste Millionaire – Sixth-grader Rufus Mayflower doesn’t set out to become a millionaire. He just wants to save on toothpaste. Betting he can make a gallon of his own for the same price as one tube from the store, Rufus develops a step-by-step production plan with help from his good friend Kate MacKinstrey. By the time he reaches the eighth grade, Rufus makes more than a gallon — he makes a million! This fun, breezy story set in 1960s Cleveland, Ohio contains many real-life mathematical problems which the characters must solve to succeed in their budding business.

I ran across this book while researching ideas for helping my 7-year-old understand the concept of entrepreneurship. Turns out, it also addresses real world math concepts, discrimination (sexism, racism, ageism), friendship, creativity and ingenuity, and collaboration. The main character is a problem solver that doesn’t like waste. This book may help a kid see the practical value of math and different ways a person might use that knowledge to address real world problems.

This 35th anniversary edition includes an exclusive author interview and reader’s guide with book summary and discussion questions.

What are your favorite family read alouds? We would love to hear from fellow elementary home learners!


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